Green Planet Blues: Environmental Politics from Stockholm to Tyoto

By Ken Conca; Geoffrey D. Dabelko et al. | Go to book overview

DAVID FEENY, FIKRET BERKES, BONNIE J. MCCAY & JAMES M. ACHESON


5
The Tragedy
of the Commons:
Twenty-two Years Later

Introduction

Garrett Hardin The Tragedy of the Commons was published 22 years ago ( Hardin, 1968). Although it focused attention on overpopulation, the dominant legacy of the paper has been its metaphor of common-property resource management. In the intervening years, the ideas that Hardin popularized have become the most widely accepted explanation for overexploitation of resources that are commonly held. The essential idea was that resources held in common, such as oceans, rivers, air, and parklands, are subject to massive degradation. . . .

This conclusion has been accorded by some the status of scientific law. The tragedy of the commons has become part of the conventional wisdom in environ-

____________________
Originally published in Human Ecology 18, 1 ( 1990):1-19. Reprinted with permission from Plenum Publishing Company.

The authors acknowledge the helpful comments of Mina Kislalioglu, Donald McCloskey, Stuart Mestelman, Elinor Ostrom, Henry Reiger, and Darrell Tomkins. Interested readers are referred to The Common Property Resource Digest, available from the International Association for the Study of Common Property, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, 205 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511

-55-

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